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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Provo in Utah County, Utah — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The Octogon House

 
 
The Octogon House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, October 2, 2018
1. The Octogon House Marker
Inscription.  Henry Larkin Southworth’s large two-story Octagon House and Store were built on this site in the early 1850’s. John Henry Smith, young son of Apostle George A. Smith, hauled the oversized adobe brick to build the two-feet-thick walls. Artisans, Jeremiah Robey and Edwin Bunnell, used wooden pegs and dovetailed joined to construct floors, stairs, and woodwork. The unique shaped building was crowned with a windowed cupola. The residential portion served as both a home and a way station on Utah’s stage line. The basement housed a bakery, and a large garden supplied travelers with fresh produce served at the specially built octagon-shaped dining room table. Workmen constructed a corral and stable for the horses behind the “Octagon”.

H.L. Southworth received an appointment as Post Master in 1861. The “Octagon” served as Provo’s Post Office until 1863 and again during 1875.

Southworth lost his mercantile store in 1870, when he could not repay Benjamin Bachman, a local merchant, a substantial loan. Their contract stipulated repayment had to be made in wheat. Unfortunately, Southworth had used the “Octagon”
The Octogon House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, October 2, 2018
2. The Octogon House Marker
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as collateral. In 1868, a grasshopper infestation destroyed crops throughout Utah territory. Southworth had no wheat with which to repay the loan. Bachman foreclosed, turning Southworth's family out, with nothing more than one team of horses.

Bachman leased the Octagon to Truman Swarthout. Swarthout ran the “Octagon” as a hotel in 1871-72. Bachman then leased the building to Provo’s first Masonic Lodge: “The Story Lodge”.

In 1876 Lucinda Kempton Southworth invested in a profitable mine in Nevada; mining profits enabled her to buy back the “Octagon” from Bachman. She reentered the mercantile business in 1878. In 1881, Southworth’s advertised in Provo‘s “Territorial Enquirer” saying the “Octagon” had boarding rooms available.

The Southworth’s found yet another use for the building; they relocated their cigar-making factory from their family-owned enterprise, Spanish Fork’s “Castilla Springs Resort” to the “Octagon”.

Henry Larkin Southworth died July 5th, 1901; his funeral was help in the 3rd Ward LDS Building, located directly north of the “Octagon”. In 1926, Southworth’s three surviving heirs deemed the structure unsuitable for modern standards and it was torn down.
 
Erected 2012 by Daughters of Utah
The Octogon House image. Click for full size.
3. The Octogon House
Photo on Marker
Pioneers. (Marker Number 568.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Daughters of Utah Pioneers series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 5, 1901.
 
Location. 40° 14.099′ N, 111° 40.064′ W. Marker is in Provo, Utah, in Utah County. Marker is at the intersection of North 500 West and West 100 North, on the right when traveling south on North 500 West. Marker is on the southwest corner. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Provo UT 84601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Provo's Liberty Bell (approx. 0.2 miles away); Brigham Young Academy (approx. 0.2 miles away); Site of the Old Provo High School (approx. ¼ mile away); 110-120 West Center (approx. 0.4 miles away); Provo Woolen Mills (approx. 0.4 miles away); 104 West Center (approx. 0.4 miles away); Craghead Field (approx. 0.4 miles away); A Place of Gathering (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Provo.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 28, 2020, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 64 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 28, 2020, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona.

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May. 18, 2021